Some 19-months after Tiger Woods’ glorious victory in 2019 and just five months after Dustin Johnson won his first Green Jacket, the Masters reverts to its traditional April slot.
Reigning FedExCup champion Dustin Johnson will look to defend his Masters title after his record-breaking effort in 2020 – finishing at 20-under in November, eclipsing the all-time scoring mark by two shots.
Meanwhile, former PGA Tour Player of the Year, Brooks Koepka, is looking to return from a knee injury that has plagued him of late, meaning he is a little easier to back than would be the case.
Course: Augusta National
Length: 7.435 yards (Par 72)
Greens: Bent grass
Architects: Bobby Jones and Alister MacKenzie
Just six months after Dustin Johnson secured his second major title at the sacred ground of Augusta National we are back in Georgia to crown another Masters champion, this time at the regular time of year.
Everyone has watched Augusta countless times on TV, but exactly what skills are required to be able to put on the green jacket come Sunday night?
Generally, I do not put too much weight in course history at regular tour stops, but it can’t be overlooked that since 1937 a rookie has won just once and that the same guys can be seen high on the leader board year after year.
Augusta is known for huge elevation changes and uneven lies so we are looking for a top iron player that can play all the shots and especially control his distances in the swirling winds that the course is known for.
It does not hurt to be able to flight it high and land it softly on these treacherous green’s ether.
The only 4 holes that average under par are the four par 5s. So, the guys that rank high in par 5 scoring will have my eye.
Almost to a man, every player claims that Augusta’s greens are some of the most demanding when it comes to short game and putting and a tournament where Mickelson has won 3 times and Spieth……you get my point.
The report from the ground is that the course is playing even firmer and faster than normal which in my opinion should lead to non-bombers with an excellent short game has a little more of a chance than normal.
Here are some of the things I will be looking at/for:
- Strokes gained approach
- Strokes gained off the tee
- Driving distance
- Strokes gained around the green
- Par 5 scoring
- Bentgrass putting
- Proximity 125-175 yards
Wagered: +35.61 units
Wagered: 168 units
Won: 407.42 units
Result: 239.42 units
Waste Management: Brooks Koepka 41-1, Genesis Invitational: Max Homa 56-1, The Players Championship: Justin Thomas 19-1, Valero Texas Open: Jordan Spieth 11-1
Brooks really got his mojo back in the first month of the year with a win in dramatic fashion at the Waste Management before following that up with a runner-up finish to Morikawa at the WGC at Concession and seemed to be the man to beat leading into the year’s first major.
Then as has been the case too often over the past year or so injury struck and it was first reported that he might miss several months with a knee injury.
Thankfully that was not true as he is on-site in Georgia and possible more importantly on social media where he is handing out shots left and right as he is known to do when he is feeling himself.
His course history at Augusta reads 33-21-11-2-7 so he likes this place and the stats over the last couple of months bears that out with him ranking 1st from 150-175 yards, 4th from 125-150 yards, 5th in all approaches and 12th in both driving distance and par 5 scoring.
Without the injury, he would have been 12/1, so I am happy to counter with over double that even with an uncertain injury looming.
After being in the wilderness for most of the post-pandemic stops last year, Max Homa resurfaced in the new year being back to his ball-striking best and when his putter finally started to cooperate it led to a T7 at Pebble Beach before he secured his second PGA Tour title the following week at Riviera.
It’s worth noting that both his wins have come at classical golf courses and against top-end fields and both of those factors are also the case this week.
It is a tall ask for him to win here on only his second start, but as missed cuts go the one in November missing it on the number when in terrible form is a good one that I take as a huge positive for his chances this week.
After having played eight weeks in a row he missed another cut on the number at the Players and while playing well at the match play, he did not advance out of the group stage losing in a playoff to the eventual winner Billy Horschel.
These are results that look worse on paper than they did in reality is the reason we get him at such a high number as, in my opinion, he should be 50/1, so we get some really nice line value on the Californian getting his first major this week.
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